We finally proudly present: The Puffins!
It is not difficult to assume from the headline that this journey to the Inner Hebrids is first of all dedicated to the puffins.
Follows the unbeatable highlight of our journey: the tour to Lunga. Lunga is an island of the Treshnish Isles, an uninhabited group of isles belonging to the Inner Hebrides..
Once a year the puffins return from sea to breed. Lunga is one of their hatcheries. This tiny island can be approached by boat via Ulva on the short tour or from Fionnphort.
As we have rented a cottage near Bunessan, we are starting from Fionnphort, booking online..
Less than one hundred locals, one grocery, one camping ground and fishery.
Opposite Iona can be made out.
Close to the port is a wonderful beach...
...…now and then a little traffic...
... and fishing.
At last, there comes the boat to take us to the puffins on Lunga.
Of course the small boat is the one...
Some people prefer to stay in the cabin because of drizzle rain...
... but we are sure: the weather will change soon.
Docking is somewhat special...
The ship will wait for our return.
Time to explore this island!
Lunga - A Vulkanic Island
Lunga, of volcanic origin. Some time this island was inhabited. Somewhere around here the remains of a settlement are said to be, remains of a blockhouse, deserted in 1857. Today the puffins are living here.
They are not penguins – actually they are plumed black and white…..
and walk as erect as the tailcoat-wearers...
...but their beaks remind rather of parrots..
Due to that they have been nicknamed „sea-parrots“.
They can be found in the Northern Atlantic as well as in the western Artic Ocean.
Puffins are breeding in burrows and on cliff
They prefer fish, crabs, and molluscs.
Cats and ermines are their enemies.
The birds reach an age of up to 30 years.
They can reach a flying speed of 40 km/h and reach a height of 30 cm.
Down to 60 metres such a bird can dive under water.
A puffin may hold in its beak a lot of fishes at the same time…
…some are said to make it 50.
It is the official bird of Canadian Counties of Newfoundland and Labrador.
During winter the beak gets a grey-brown colour.
In parts it’s a little steep here. ...
For the time being the puffin is ranking as of last concern.
The population in Europe is estimated to more than 7 million pairs.
However, the population is varying at lot.
Increased mortality of the adult birds during wintering on the high sea
seems to be the reason.
Both partners have an equal share in breeding and feeding.
'Nothing but' a cormorant…
The food is presented to the nestling…
…or dropped into the nesting hole.
Depending on the feeding the fledglings leave the nest after 35 to 55 days.
One clutch holds but one egg, the breeding time comes up to 38 days.
At night young puffins ‚train‘ how to fly before setting out to sea.
As soon as the sea is reached, the young birds swim out on their own.
They do no return to the colony.
The adults however do return to the colony for 2-3 weeks.
You may approach the puffins and their breeding holes.
Only if you come too close to the nests, they will attack.
Birds banded in northern Scotland were mostly found in the northern Atlantic and the North Sea.
Birds from Iceland however are only found at the coasts of Newfoundland.
What a pity that after two hours we have to go back…
In the distance the boat is already waiting for us to take us back.